1st smoking concerns



  • Good morning all,

    So I attempted my first smoking of Venison and pork summer sausage and snack sticks. Two things that occurred once finished.

    1. After the the smoke and water bath I noticed that the summer sausage wrinkled a little bit and feeling the casings it seemed like there was in the pockets? (I have yet to open one up) The snack sticks did not wrinkle but you could tell in the air pocket areas there was some clear slim I am assuming fat?
    2. I noticed in both the summer sausage and snack sticks the casing did not stick in some spots.
    3. After taking them out of the smoker and waterbath both the summer and snack sticks casings were very greasy to the point where after cutting the snack sticks to size my finger tips were greasy which I am assuming from fat?

    I used H-Summer with high temp cheese and jalapeno with sure cure and ECA for summer and for snack I used Willies with high temp cheese and jalapeno with sure cure and ECA.

    As soon as I stuffed the sausage and snack sticks I put it in the smoker and let it do its thing.

    Smoke times:
    125 - 1 hour
    140 - 1 hour
    155 - 2 hours
    175 - until both the sausage and snack sticks reached 160 degrees

    I am really debating on throwing it all away as it is so greasy to the touch? Anyone have an idea as to if I did something wrong?

    Thank you for your time!


  • Team Blue Admin Walton's Employee

    North Until you open up the casings (Schrodinger’s cat anyone?!) we won’t know for sure but I am going to guess you have fat out on both of them. This occurs when you don’t get the protein extraction you needed and the fat is able to easily render out of the meat. Did you use a meat binder? When did you add the ECA to the mixing process? It needs to be added during the last 60 seconds or you risk the encapsulation being ruptured and then the acid is going to denature your proteins and break your bonds. Also, what was your meat block and what was your fat content?

    The fact that it is greasy to the touch almost ensures that this was fatting out, a binder and more mixing will solve this. Your smoke schedule was fine, though 2 hours at 155 could be debatable for sticks but that didnt cause your issue.

    Before you throw it all out try leaving it out at room temp for at least an hour and then in a cooler/fridge overnight. The grease isn’t going to magically disappear but you might be surprised and it will improve?



  • Jonathon said in 1st smoking concerns:

    Schrodinger’s cat anyone

    Thank you Jonathon,

    ***I did use a hand meat blender and I blended for 8 minutes rotating the direction after each minutes as well adding appropriate water.
    ***I added the ECA the last minute of mixing along with the high temp cheese
    ***My meat block in both was 10 pounds elk and 2.5 pounds pork fat caps
    ***As far as the smoke schedule I watched the youtube videos on both the summer sausage and snack sticks and followed the smoke schedule from them
    ***The sausage and snack still are in the fridge now I am going to cut one of the casings open tonight to take a look.

    What might be your thoughts after this info?


  • Power User

    North so if i understand correctly you did a 12.5lb batch? That put you at 25% fat to meat ratio. Although i have seen that other people have done this mix i find that to be a little more than i like to see. I did this mix with deer and did get some fat out with summer sausage but not so much on the snack sticks, i know wierd right. I did mix thoroughly and got great protein extraction. Not really sure what else it could be. I definitely wouldnt throw it out except due to the ECA, i cant stand that tang but everyons taste is different



  • I think your protein extraction was week. mix longer next time.your fat caps might of been to warm along with your meat temp.go 125 for drying.130 for smoke 2hrs’ 140 1 hr… shut off smoke.water pan’ close top vent keep smoker box 25 deg above meat temp until you hit 156 to 160.cold bath hang and dry off 1 hr’ put in fridge.show it some love don’t push the heat on it so fast.



  • Thank you for all your comments! I used an hand mixer and and was going for what I thought was strong mixing. When it got tough to mix I added some water to make the mixing easier. I just watch The Importance of Protein Extraction on youtube and my snack sticks definitely have the look in my snack sticks of fat out… Was I wrong to keep adding water to make mixing easier? after I added the high temp cheese and ECA the last minute I didnt add water. My mix was very sticky but as Jonathon stated in the video maybe I needed to be hand mixing for 16 minutes instead of 8? Is the meat edible? or should I just get rid of it?


  • Power User

    North its not gonna make you sick so it is edible. It all depends if you can get past eating the fat build up.


  • Team Blue Admin Walton's Employee

    North Your meat is absolutely edible and I would guess still very tasty. A lot of things go into protein extraction including the temperature of the meat. Don’t quote me on this but I think from 42° - 70 something degrees you can mix to your hearts content without extracting enough proteins, something about that temperature range foils it. Now, you shouldn’t be at 42° when mixing so that isn’t normally a problem but maybe it was?

    Next time I would add a binder like Sure Gel and mix longer. But again, there shouldn’t be any safety concerns with your meat because the fat rendered out.



  • Good evening all! Well I opened up the sausage casings as well as cut the snack sticks to length. During the process things I noticed… The snack sticks had areas of soft (I am assuming clear fat as well as areas with yellow soldi fat build up. I took those skins off and took the fat off. The summer sausage was alright after taking the skins off now here is the one thing that I guess I am missing. The snack sticks as well as the summer sausage do not feel firm as when I would purchase it from a processor… Also when I bite into either snack stick or summer sausage the bite is not what I would get from a processor. It doesnt taste like I am biting into firm meat but a softer texture and or gritty feeling maybe? Thoughts on this? Thank you again for all your help!


  • Power User

    North casings not pack tight enough and/or poor protein extraction. I didnt go back up and reread the above posts, meat binder? Soy protein or sure gel meat binders?



  • twilliams I followed the waltons youtube recipe for both and the only things I added was the sure cure and ECA as a binder was not mentioned in the video



  • twilliams I definitly agree on the protein extraction, I think that after grinding mixing and stuffing the meat might have been too warm. I have been doing a little reading and they said that hand mixing you may have to do double the time? Also I added about 3 pints of water during the mixing process as it got harder and harder to mix which adding a half pint of water every so often helped


  • Power User

    North how much total water did you add for how many pounds? I use 2 quarts for a 25lb batch. Sure gel or soy protein is a meat binder. Although i haven’t used it yet and haven’t needed it on summer sausage or snack sticks. However i am making ring bologna soon and gonna give the sure gel a try. It not only helps bind the meat but also helps retain moisture


  • Power User

    North they should have a binder use video somewhere in the meatgistics forum


  • Regular Contributors

    I find that grinding my fat, in your case the pork 1/8" first then grind the meat, the elk 3/8" then thoroughly mix the two together and then grind the mix 1/8" really helps blending the two and protein extraction, then I thoroughly mix the spices, binder and cure with the water, about 1 quart or so and then thoroughly mix that in the ground meat. For my summer sausage I use 20lb lean game meat, 5lb beef fat trim, 1lb binder, 2 quarts water, cure and spices and stuff as tight as possible in 73MM mahogany collagen casing. I have also found that an automatic hog ring crimper is very helpful in closing up the casings.



  • twilliams I used a total of 2.5 pints of water for 10 lbs of elk and 2.5 lbs pork fat



  • akdave I ground the elk and fat at the same time doing a 3/8 inch grind first and then an 1/8. I think through it all in a hand mixer that I have from Cabelas and added spices. Mixed one min in each direction for 8 minutes. The last minute I add high temp cheese and ECA


  • Team Blue Admin Walton's Employee

    North I don’t think your problem was the water amount, 2.5 lb for a 10 lb batch sounds in the realm of what I would do. Your fat content is right at about 80% so no worries there.

    The grainy thing you were talking about and the fact that it didn’t feel firm leads me to believe that you had a temperature issue. The Encapsulated Citric Acid needs to be above 130° for at least an hour for the cottonseed oil to fully dissolve if it doesn’t you can notice a graininess to the meat. And, if it wasn’t firm, well that could be because the meat wasn’t cooked long enough at higher temps (meaning that the meat wasn’t at high enough temp long enough, not your smoker)

    What thermometer were you using and how long did it take to get to 160° at 175?

    One thing though you said in a response to twilliams about 12 hours ago figure about 9 pm last night (while I was fast asleep!) that you added 3 more pints of water during the mixing process, so would this be 5.5 pints of water? If so then that would be too much, a snack stick or summer sausage is a semi-dried sausage so to get the classic meat consistency and mouth feel (still hate that term) you need to cook out the majority of the water you add in. So, the more you add the longer your cook cycle is going to take as there is more water to evaporate out of your product. That is important because evaporation energy is what causes “the stall” where your meat just won’t go up in temperature because the evaporation energy is meeting (or exceeding) the thermal energy from your smoker.



  • Jonathon said in 1st smoking concerns:

    North I don’t think your problem was the water amount, 2.5 lb for a 10 lb batch sounds in the realm of what I would do. Your fat content is right at about 80% so no worries there.

    The grainy thing you were talking about and the fact that it didn’t feel firm leads me to believe that you had a temperature issue. The Encapsulated Citric Acid needs to be above 130° for at least an hour for the cottonseed oil to fully dissolve if it doesn’t you can notice a graininess to the meat. And, if it wasn’t firm, well that could be because the meat wasn’t cooked long enough at higher temps (meaning that the meat wasn’t at high enough temp long enough, not your smoker)

    What thermometer were you using and how long did it take to get to 160° at 175?

    One thing though you said in a response to twilliams about 12 hours ago figure about 9 pm last night (while I was fast asleep!) that you added 3 more pints of water during the mixing process, so would this be 5.5 pints of water? If so then that would be too much, a snack stick or summer sausage is a semi-dried sausage so to get the classic meat consistency and mouth feel (still hate that term) you need to cook out the majority of the water you add in. So, the more you add the longer your cook cycle is going to take as there is more water to evaporate out of your product. That is important because evaporation energy is what causes “the stall” where your meat just won’t go up in temperature because the evaporation energy is meeting (or exceeding) the thermal energy from your smoker.

    Good afternoon Jonathon, I am going to be trying another batch and wanted to reach out to you and the group before doing so. I was doing 10lbs of elk and 2.5 pork fat. Is this would you would do or cut back on the fat. I would rather have less fat but I really want it to turn out better like we would get from the processor.

    I thought I was following the snack sticks and summer sausage recipes that I watched on Walton’s YouTube videos. Here is the Heat Schedule that I was trying to follow: ***Smoke Times
    1 hour @ 125 Degrees
    1 hour @ 140 Degrees
    2 hours @ 155 Degrees
    Set the smokehouse at 175 degrees until internal temperature reaches 160 degrees

    • I am using the fireboard for a thermometer as well a master built electric smoker

    *my total smoke time was 7/8 hours to reach 160 for both snack sticks and sausage

    *I was reading your response in regards to the water and I was adding a half pint every time mixing got a little tough. It could be that I added too much water and just did not cook it long enough.

    Could you help me out to put together the proper schedule and mixture of elk to fat. as well I did not use a binder. I am going to be ordering some which would you suggest using? I have been doing a little reaching and just want to make sure I am using the right binder. The binder is not going to change the texture of the meat as this last batch did not have a bite to it.

    Thank you again for all your help!


  • Power User

    North 2 qt water for 25lbs of meat block
    1 qt water for 12.5lbs of meat block, so for 10 lbs i would do 3/4 qt.

    Not sure what you have for a smoker but on your smoke schedule i dont see any mention of dampers or smoke if you are adding it. Your first hour of 125° you want both top and bottom dampers wide open. This is called the drying stage and this will help smoke adhere to the casing.

    After that hour dampers need to be adjusted, bottom 50% closed and top 1/8" open. Continue with your schedule as you specified.

    What i can suggest is, do not compare your batches to other processors. They may not and most likely will not come out the same as theirs. Assuming the processors have been doing it for years and have much better equipment and process than what we home guys can put out.


Log in to reply
 


Categories

  • Waltons Community

    A place to talk about whatever you want like Meat Processing, Smoking & Grilling, Hunting, and other Random Topics

  • Blogs

    Follow along with Walton’s and the latest news, updates, and updates direct from the experts from Walton’s and Meatgistics, plus, follow along with Joe Hell in his amazing story and blog about “Better Living Through BBQ”!

  • Meatgistics University

    A new way of organizing and accessing any information you might need to make homemade meat products. Broken up into 7 categories and then presented in a class like structure.

  • Waltons Learning Center

    Learn about meat processing with recipes, tips, tricks, Meat Hacks, and more from the expert’s at Walton’s

Recent Topics


Who's Online [Full List]

20 users active right now (4 members and 16 guests).
rptwisted, dawg, kyle, Decolb, beekeeper84, kathy cross, Lmick1979

Board Statistics

Our members have made a total of 15.2k posts in 2.0k topics.
We currently have 8.6k members registered.
Please welcome our newest member, bencar69.
The most users online at one time was 5081 on Fri May 03 2019.

Community Statistics

24
Online

8.6k
Users

2.0k
Topics

15.2k
Posts

About Meatgistics

Meatgistics is brought to you by Walton's (waltonsinc.com). Meatgistics is a community site, knowledgebase, forum, blog, learning center, and a sharing site. You can find help and ask questions about anything related to meat processing, smoking and grilling meats, plus a whole lot more. Join Austin & Jon from Walton's and sign up for our Meatgistics community today.